In Pursuit of a Living Architecture: Continuing Christopher Alexander's Quest for a Humane and Sustainable Building Culture

Kyriakos Pontikis and Yodan Rofe (eds)

Published by The Constructed Environment, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Electronic $US15.00
Book: Print $US60.00

DOI: 10.18848/978-1-61229-878-8/CGP

Since his very first published work in 1961, Christopher Alexander pursued an architecture of enduring comfort and beauty, inventing the idea of “pattern” and pattern languages, describing order in nature and the built environment, and insisting on the importance of process for the formation of wholeness. In the chapters of this book, former students and collaborators of Alexander continue to explore the central concepts of his approach, connecting them explicitly to the urgent need for a more sustainable energy- and resource-conscious building culture.

The book’s three parts address this challenge at three levels. The first part is devoted to conceptual perspectives, addressing craftsmanship and intelligence in design, placing Alexander’s work in the context of current philosophical thought and examining its potential contribution to the Green Building Movement. The second part addresses the methodological development of the “pattern language” approach over the last twenty years, with particular attention to aspects of sustainability in urban design, building, teaching, and research. The essays in the third part reflect on built projects, ranging from small neighborhoods to buildings and interiors, showing how these illustrate the concepts and themes recurrent throughout the book.

This book represents the greater movement of which it is a part, one dedicated to pursuing a practice of architecture that has at its core a concern for human well-being and the continued care of our shared environment. Through their manifold and diverse contributions, its authors show that a truly sustainable architecture must also be humane, and that a truly humane architecture is fundamentally sustainable.

Keywords: Humane Architecture, Theory and Practice, Building Culture, Pattern Language, Building Process, Green Building, Sustainability, Well-being, Craft

Book: Electronic (PDF File; 20.773MB). Book: Print (Hardback). Published by The Constructed Environment, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing.

Dr. Kyriakos Pontikis

Professor, Interior Design, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Health and Human Development, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California, USA

Kyriakos Pontikis was an architect and Professor of Interior Design at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he developed a series of courses focusing on humane and sustainable design and architecture. He partnered with Habitat for Humanity to create its CSUN Chapter and was a member of CSUN’s Institute of Sustainability and of its Green Core Team. He was a founding member of the Building Process Alliance and the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism (INTBAU)’s USA chapter. He had over twenty years of professional experience in both Europe and the US.

Dr. Yodan Rofe

Senior Lecturer, Switzerland Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research and Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Yodan Rofè is a Senior Lecturer of Urban Planning and Design at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was founder and Board Member of the Movement for Israeli Urbanism (MIU). Previously he served for five years as Head of Urban Design at Israel’s Ministry of Construction and Housing. His research interests include the building processes and structure of informal settlements, urban form and movement, accessibility and equity, cognition and feeling in the built environment, and urban public space and street design. Together with Allan Jacobs and Elizabeth Macdonald he authored The Boulevard Book: History, Evolution, Design of Multi-way Boulevards published by MIT Press.